Producer, actor battle it out in courtroom

LOS ANGELES -- A judge refused to dismiss key portions of a $10 million lawsuit that Sean Penn filed, accusing a producer of reneging on a contract for the defunct movie "Why Men Shouldn't Marry."

During a brief hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court Thursday, the judge refused to throw out the actor's claims of wrongful termination, labor code violations and failure to pay guaranteed compensation.

Judge Irving S. Feffer ordered both sides back to court on June 18 for a hearing involving Penn's request to dismiss portions of a countersuit that producer Steve Bing filed.

The men sued each other in February after their deal to make the comedy fell apart.

Penn, 42, claims Bing reneged on a $10 million "play or pay" oral agreement because he feared adverse publicity from Penn's opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. He said Bing's alleged actions were "from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting."

Actress enters rehab for alcohol addiction

NEW YORK -- More than a year after she was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, Kim Delaney has entered rehabilitation for alcohol addiction, her publicist said.

The actress went into an Arizona treatment program in late April, People magazine reported in its May 19 issue. It's unknown how long she'll stay.

"Due to a stressful year, Kim made the decision to enter a program at Sierra Tucson," said her spokeswoman, Robin Baum.

Delaney, 41, was arrested in January 2002 after she was seen driving erratically on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Calif. She later pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to probation and a safe-driving course.

In November, Delaney was asked to leave the CBS drama "CSI: Miami" after just 10 episodes because "the character of Megan Donner was becoming less integral to the series," the network said.

'Dateline' host recalls father's depression

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Stone Phillips, host of "Dateline NBC," said that when he was 10, his father suffered from severe depression that created "a really difficult time for our family."

"My heart still pounds and aches when I think about it," Phillips said. "When a loved one is depressed ... it's very difficult to see them despondent and unresponsive even to the people they love."

Phillips, a resident of Dobbs Ferry, spoke at a news conference Thursday announcing the launch of Westchester County's Depression Support Network, which includes an Internet site, a telephone hot line and a speaker's bureau.

"Depression is not a character flaw," he said. "It's an illness and it can and should be treated."

Phillips, 48, said that although his father had a paralyzed right arm from a World War II injury, "I think he would tell you that his injury was not as debilitating as his depression."

Irish singer to teach children in career change

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Sinead O'Connor says she plans to teach religion after quitting the music business this July.

"I am retiring because I want to train to become a religion teacher of primary school children," the 36-year-old Irish singer said in a letter published Thursday in Dublin's Evening Herald newspaper.

"This will take some years as I also want to raise my own children, so it may be over 10 years 'til I qualify but I intend to make a start."

O'Connor, who has two children, said she also plans to work as a "visiting" church singer, "where I can hide and not be looked at. And maybe sing with a choir. Hire myself out for services. NOT WEDDINGS! Don't believe in them!"

Her final recording, a DVD titled, "Goodnight, thank you. You've been a lovely audience," will be released in July.

O'Connor, who married for the second time in 2001, said she hopes to start studying theology in September. She's particularly interested in a group called Death Midwives.

German officials clear actor of any wrongdoing

BERLIN -- Former "Nash Bridges" star Don Johnson faces no action by German authorities over documents found in his car that listed transactions totaling $8 billion, but were found to belong to someone else, a customs official said.

"An examination has shown that no offense was committed from a German point of view," Leonhard Biel, a spokesman for German customs investigators, said Wednesday.

Johnson, 53, also starred in the 1980s television series "Miami Vice." His films include 1996's "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner.

His car was stopped for a routine check as he entered Germany from Switzerland last November with two other men. Officials photocopied the documents but didn't seize them and allowed Johnson to continue his trip without formally questioning him.

Johnson has said the bank statements weren't his and has strongly denied wrongdoing.

Investigators determined that the documents belonged to another person who had remained in Switzerland, Biel said. He declined to identify the owner.

German authorities never launched a formal investigation and consider the matter closed, he said. U.S. authorities have been informed of the listed transactions in view of the sums involved.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Keith Jarrett is being honored by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music for fusing musical genres from jazz to gospel, but the American pianist says he dislikes putting labels on his music.

"I like them on canned foods," Jarrett told reporters in Stockholm, where he will receive the $117,000 Polar Music Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf on Monday.

"As far as music is concerned, I think our hearts can tell whether it's good or bad, and other than that, the labels make more of a problem for the artist," Jarrett said Thursday.

The award was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, manager of the Swedish pop group ABBA. Jarrett is the first musician to win the award solo; it's been split between pop and classical musicians.

Citing his "utterly spontaneous creativity," the award committee in January said Jarrett "lifted piano improvisation as an art form to new, unimaginable heights."

The 58-year-old pianist said he always preferred improvising music instead of following sheet music, and given the choice, he'd rather play live.

"You gain the response of biological life in the audience," he said. "In a studio it's very artificial and I don't really like that."

His recordings include "Facing You," "La Scala" and "Koln Concert."

Born in Allentown, Pa., in 1945, Jarrett toured the world as a pianist with the Charles Lloyd Quartet in the late 1960s and early '70s. He also toured with Miles Davis' electric fusion group.


On the Net:

Polar Music Prize Web site: http://www.polarmusicprize.se/

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